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Lew Larason: Thoughts from an Epicure -- An easy substitute for frozen dinners

An acquaintance of Patti’s sent her a couple of gift cards for pre-cooked, ready to “heat and eat” meals. It was a nice gesture, although she didn’t know our cooking and eating habits.

The company produces food with no gluten and low in carbohydrates. We have no problem with either. Instead of these, the meals are very high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. The sad fact is frozen dinners and prepared foods like these generally have a lot of salt.

It’s a preservative and enhances dull flavors. That, along with the high fat content, makes nearly anything taste better. Yet, even with the added fat and sodium, I found the meals bland.

They make their “pasta” from cauliflower powder or brown rice. These meals are aimed toward people with gluten problems or folks who want to eat more meatless foods.

They also are for people who need quick, easy meals such as the elderly or young who live alone or working moms who need a quick meal. The high fat and sodium aren’t healthy for anyone.

When I’m in a hurry, I have several meals to fall back on. Of course, one is eggs in any form. Or, grilled cheese with a thin slice of tomato or bacon with the cheese. Both could be for lunch or a light dinner. A meal I like in cold weather is gravy on either toast or boiled red potatoes.

For the following, you can use salmon, tuna, or chicken breast in a five or six ounce can. Look for ones with the lowest sodium, packed in water.

Lew’s Quick Gravy Meal

1 small can of tuna, salmon, or chicken breast
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 - 2/3 cup milk (I use powdered with no fat)
Toast or boiled red potatoes

Heat skillet on medium high heat, Open can and drain well. When pan is hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil, then the protein. Stir until the meat/fish is heated. Add rest of oil. Stir, then add flour and mix well.

Once thoroughly blended, slowly add milk and stir to mix. After the milk has been added, taste and add garlic powder, black pepper, or any other spice or herb you like.

While you’re making the gravy, you can boil the potatoes or make the toast. In less than a half hour, you have a tasty meal, not overloaded with fat or sodium.

Enjoy and stay safe!

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